Lessons My Kids Taught Me (LMKTM) Part I
It’s amazing the things you can discover about God while you are parenting. For some reason, prior to becoming a mother, I was under the naive and completely false impression that I would be the one doing all the teaching, and my kids doing all the learning. I think it was about four hours into my first son’s life, as I sat in a hospital bed, staring at a tiny, screaming little Joey, that I realized just how wrong I had been.
Just this morning, in fact, I was absolutely schooled by my four month old son Gavin. Schooled. I was changing him into a new outfit for the day, when his onesie got caught on his rather large head (the boys both got their large heads from Jason and I, but that’s another story for another day), and he proceeded to have a face-melting, body-scrunching, good ol’ fashioned breakdown. He was mad. I hurt him when I pulled the onesie off, and even though it lasted for merely seconds, he was still mad, long after the offensive item had been discarded into the hamper.
In my mind, I was exasperated. “Come on, Gavin,” I thought, as he screamed his little lungs out, “The onesie is gone! Stop crying!” The crying, however, continued, and set him on a less-than-stellar path for the rest of the morning. To say I was frustrated would be an understatement. Because of one simple misstep, I now had to deal with a cranky baby, who simply couldn’t seem to get over something that, in reality, should be such a small part of his day that it should have been long-forgotten once the ever-anticipated bottle reached his little lips. To Gavin, though, this had been big, huge, traumatic, and scary. He wasn’t ready to let it go. He may not have even remembered what it was that actually caused him discomfort in the first place, but he knew that it was unpleasant and he wanted me to know that he was mad about it.
How many times have I acted like a four month old baby when dealing with pain and suffering in my life? The offense may have only lasted a little while, and God may have long-ago swept the offending object far from me, and yet I just can’t seem to let it go. I dwell on my anger, cry, complain, and try to get others to join in and empathize with my suffering. Meanwhile, God is standing over me and watching as I miss all the beauty of my present day, because I am stubbornly refusing to let go of whatever it is that first offended me and caused my self-preservation instincts to kick in – even to the point that I may have forgotten why I got so mad to begin with.
Don’t be like Gavin today. Don’t let the anger you feel keep you from moving forward. Chances are, much like Gavin’s experience with the imposing and offensive onesie, your anger was sparked by something that has long since been put to rest in the history book of your life. By holding onto your anger, you just may be missing something beautiful and amazing that God has in store for your day. Why let the whole day be brought down by something that you can’t go back and fix now anyway? I know it hurt, I know it was painful, and I know you’re angry, but it’s over now. If you continue to focus your time and energy on keeping that anger alive in your life, it will only wind up hurting you more. Make the wise choice. Let it go. Move forward and watch as your life blooms because of it.